(1)   The part of a song where a soloist is joined by a group of singers


(2)   Choose not to consume
"I abstain from alcohol"
(3)   Resist doing something
"He refrained from hitting him back"
"She could not forbear weeping"

Etymology 1

From , , , from ; influenced by , from , for (see ). is from prefix + .


  1. To hold back; to restrain; to keep within prescribed bounds; to curb; to govern.
    • Chaucer
      His reson refraineth not his foul delight or talent.
    • Proverbs i:15.
      Refrain thy foot from their path.
  2. To abstain from
    • Thomas Browne
      Who, requiring a remedy for his gout, received no other counsel than to refrain cold drink.
  3. To keep one's self from action or interference; to hold aloof; to forbear; to abstain.
    • Acts 5:38
      Refrain from these men, and let them alone.
    • Thomas Browne
      They refrained therefrom [eating flesh] some time after.

Etymology 2

From , from < + ; compare Pr. , . See and the verb to refrain.


  1. The burden of a song; a phrase or verse which recurs at the end of each of the separate stanzas or divisions of a poetic composition. As enjoined by a chorus.
    We hear the wild refrain. Whittier.